You might remember that before my trips to Devon and Sweden, Gaby and I went to our second supperclub?! I am now going to tell you all about that lovely experience!
This supperclub, Cucina Cinzia, is in south London and not that far from home, but we were still slightly late getting there. A combination of time optimism, delayed tubes and bad sense of direction… Sorry! When we arrived to Jill’s home, the other guests had gathered in the living room, having a glass of prosecco and some unusal nibbles. We got a glass each and started to chat with the other guests. They were in good spirits and raved about the nibbles already. It was fried sage leaves and small pieces of cured meat, which we later learned was pig’s head. All of the head, compressed. Unusual indeed.
Soon after the hostess told us about the menu and invited us over to the table. She opened everyone’s wine bottles and distributed them. The table was set with lovely china, all matching. It felt more like going to a dinner party were you only know a few people, than a supperclub. The house was big and there was easily room for the twelve of us around the table. The dining room/kitchen was open plan so we could see the cook, Cinzia in action in the kitchen.
The other guests were an interesting bunch of people. One young Asian couple had been to many supperclubs around London and liked this one so much that they invited their neighbours, a middleaged couple that were very sociable. There was also an Italian woman and her twenty-something daughter, and this lady had met Cinzia on a plane and they became friends. There was also a twenty-something couple where the girl had a website about how to plan dates, and she had discovered supperclubs that way. There were a few more girls, but the evening went so quickly I didn’t get a chance to speak to them.
It was a very relaxed atmosphere, Cinzia seemed relaxed in the kitchen and Jill seem to like being the hostess. The food arrived quickly (even quicker than some restaurants) and every course was introduced to us again, in case we’d forgotten.
The first course was a torta salata (salty cake) made with chickpea flour served with fennel salami and crostinis with chicken liver mousse. Everything was lovely, and the portion very generous. We learned that the trick to take away the strong liver taste was to add a anchovy. Both the chickpea flour (that was milled locally to where Cinzia lives) and the salami travelled all the way from Tuscany in Cinzia’s suitcase!
Next up was my favourite, pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato soup). It was a large portion, and I’m still sad I couldn’t finish it all. It was not at all what I expected, as it was the least ‘soupy’ soup I’ve ever had, more like a bread porridge, but that doesn’t sound very nice. 🙂 This was nice though, better than nice. Absolutely divine with the flavours if the tomato, olive oil and bread working together. Extremely comforting as well. This is what I would like to make then the rain is poring down, it’s cold and dark outside and I’ve had a absolutely shitty day at work, because this soup would put the smile back on my face after a day like that.
Next up was salsicce sausages with cannellini beans. Again a very generous portion, and I was once again sorry I couldn’t finish it. This felt like real peasant food but less stodgy than bangers and mash, and the sausages was much nicer (I might add that I’m not a fan of English sausages but I’m learning to like them).
To finish off the dinner we were served a piece of chestnut cake with raisins, nuts and rosemary. It was made from chestnut flour (also brought in the suitcase) and olive oil but without sugar. The diplomatic word for this was interesting, no only joking. It was very different from normal desserts but we learned that in Tuscany, desserts are usually not very sweet. It was strange to me to have rosemary in a dessert, my thoughts went to lamb as soon as I tasted it, but after a while the other flavours from the chestnuts and the raisins came out. We also got a glass of Vin Santo with it, and the sweet wine made the chestnut cake feel more like a dessert.
The dinner was finished around 11.30pm so there was plenty of time to catch the last tube. People stayed for a while and chatted, and Cinzia answered lots of questions about the food. We still had some wine left and stayed a bit longer chatting to Jill. Before we left everyone got a little jar with herb salt that Cinzia made herself. So sweet and unexpected!
This supperclub was very different to Fernandez and Leluu (read my post here), the first one we went to, and we love both, but in different ways. F&L is trendier and more of a party with 25 people in a small space. People drank a lot here (maybe a bit too much somtimes), started singing and shouting, and it was a shame that it was so little interaction with the lovely Fernandez and Leluu themselves, but they were in the kitchen a floor above and of course extremely busy catering for so many people.
Cucina Cinzia feels classier, and Jill’s home is a lovely setting. It is more relaxed, more efficient, and of course less guests. This is a place were I could bring my mother as well as enjoy it myself, but at Fernandez and Leluu the crowd is a bit younger and artier.
I am pretty certain I will come back to both, because they are both great supperclubs with excellent food, and of course I want to visit others as well.
I didn’t take any photos during the dinner, because I wanted to relax and fully enjoy it and not having to think about taking photos, the light etc.